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Day 43 “Who replaced Steve Garvey?”

Greg Brock

Yesterday, I needed to find a baseball game during the day since a friend of a friend hooked me up with some tickets to see the Phoenix Suns play the New York Knicks.  I found a high school tournament on the out skirts of Scottsdale, in the middle of no where or that is how it felt, it was at Salt River High School. The game was between Northland Prep Academy (NPA) and Bagdad High School. Northland Prep only had 11 players on the team. However, what I loved about these teams was the enthusiasm and tenacity they showed. Each team had excellent middle infielders, which impressed me. One kid, a freshman, was very small compared to his peers, but he made all the plays. I sat in the bleachers with a man, his wife and his daughter. The daughter is the wife of the coach for NPA.

I sat and talked with this family throughout the game and told them what I was doing.  The man’s wife was very interesting, she was telling me about her favorite baseball teams. Coincidentally, her favorites happen to be my two favorite teams, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The funny thing is I “kinda” dismissed them initially regarding baseball since they were out in the middle of nowhere watching some smaller schools play. Call me arrogant but I sometimes think I know more than I actually do… with that said, the man I passed off as a grandpa to one of the kids on the team, since he told me that he lived in Colorado. He made occasional baseball comments but I really didn’t think to much about them.  I continued to talk to his wife and she tested me on some of the Dodgers players. I reeled some off and she reeled some off. I was impressed with her, she was obviously the baseball person in the family. She stumped me, of course, when she asked, “Who replaced Steve Garvey at first base when he signed with San Diego?” Any other day I would have remembered, but I forgot. I had to ask her who and she didn’t remember. I couldn’t Google it since my reception was bad.

The man told me they lived in Wisconsin, West Allis or New Berlin, for a time back in the late 80’s through the 90’s. I told him where I grew up in Wisconsin, living in Ashland and Wauwatosa for the most part. He was very nice and listened as I told him how important I was, what I thought of Wisconsin sports, etc.  I even told him about the blog I did on ASU moving their stadium.  He told me he played there once back in the 70’s, I didn’t think much of the comment. I told his daughter about what we say about West Allis. I won’t repeat it since its the same thing Ashland people say about Hurley. If you want to know email me. Anyway, I was absorbed with myself, my baseball knowledge and frustrated as “all get out” I couldn’t remember who replaced Garvey. I could picture him, but couldn’t place him…

I started thinking about this family, the man said his daughter and another son were born in Milwaukee. Then he confirmed with his wife that another son was born in California “The Los Angeles Connection”, I thought. He wasn’t mentioning what he did for a living, he did say something about Wyoming and playing there. Things didn’t make sense to me so I finally asked him why he moved to Milwaukee? He smiled and said, “the Brewers”. I still did not catch on. My thought was he worked in the office or ushering. I asked him what he did for them and he said, “I played first base for them”, in a matter-of-fact manner. I felt like such an idiot! Finally, his last name came to me. I said, “Your last name is Brock” and he said, “yes”.  I couldn’t remember his first name, but it all came back to me. I remember the pressure he was under in L.A. because he was replacing Garvey. I remember reading all the hype, Greg Brock!  What makes it even more frustrating is I did not make the Brewers connection and the 1987 season was the most memorable to me. I listened to every game, the streaks that year, winning, losing and Molitor’s hitting streak! Greg Brock’s first year with the Crew and he did great. He batted around .300 and had a great glove in the field, if my memory serves me right! Google it if you want!

They were very nice and I was  humbled, I enjoyed watching the game with them. I hope to keep the  lesson I learned, I wouldn’t dismiss people “off handedly” again!  He doesn’t know how excited I was to meet him. I don’t get as excited about the players today as I did about the ones from when I was younger. Greg Brock, thanks for playing it the way you did with me. I needed some humility and I appreciated the humility you showed.  If I were you, I would have been telling me  I batted .300 in the MLB, etc. You showed a lot of class and please tell your wife for me, I remembered – “You were the one that replaced Garvey!”

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Day 84 “Asked & Answered!”

April28th 1075I was in New Orleans last night and watched the Zephyrs crush the Iowa Cubs, 9-1.  There are times I am finding that I have become very obsessed with the game that I want to concentrate on certain things.  I purchased a stop watch yesterday and I was timing the pitchers from the moment they step on the pitching rubber to the moment they released the ball, about 9 seconds for both when they didn’t have a base runner. Timing was all over the board when there was someone on base. I did this ‘timed set-up with release’ for two innings. I know it is weird and it serves no purpose but I was enjoying it. I also was referring back to the book “Watching Baseball Smarter” on different things.  Needless to say, I was self absorbed and didn’t really talk to anyone, so I thought I would put together a list of frequently asked questions.

I get asked a lot of questions, since I am picking up a lot more followers lately. I am going to create a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page on my website, but I figure I will utilize the blog to let everyone know about it!

  1. Are you independently wealthy, how can you afford to do this?  I am not independently wealthy. If that was the case I won’t be sleeping in my car as often as I do.  I am able to afford to do this trip since I don’t have a home or a rent payment, I packed all my stuff up and it is being stored at my sister Meg’s house and my ex-wife Jane’s storage locker.  In addition, I received large donations from Bruno Independent Living Aids, my brother Chad’s family and many small donations on my website.
  2. If you don’t have a house, where is your mail sent?  My ex-wife has been gracious enough to let me have my mail forwarded to her home.
  3. You AREN’T married are you?  I am not married nor am I dating at the moment. I like how it is assumed that I am not, that one always makes me laugh.
  4. Why are you doing this? This is a complex question and I don’t always know where to begin with my answer.  I suppose the main reason is that “life is short” and I am not getting any younger. I am blown away at how fast life has flown by since I graduated from high school. I think I’m like most wanting to make a mark in life, but I never really knew in what ‘occupation’, or how to accomplish my mark.  A lot of people just know and they go about living their plan. I was lost for a very long time. I am very much a “daydreamer”, but I let my fears and other peoples societal constraints dictate to me.  I wanted to fit in for a very long time, but I was always attracted to people that lived on the fringe.  When my Dad had his triple by pass it affected me. I didn’t like seeing my Dad that vulnerable. The thought of losing him never occurred to me because he always seemed young to me. I knew that one day, possibly I would possibly be ‘in his shoes’. Spending time together and our conversations about life, I knew it was time to start doing things that I “needed” to do.  That is the short answer. However, there is more depth to my reason(s).
  5. Are you a writer or journalist?  I am neither, but I do like to write. I thought it was painfully obvious, since my grammar is bad and I use to many commas. I have been told I have a very unique writing style, I know my sister Debbie really likes how I write.  My Mom said I was very good writer years ago.  I have always wanted to write a book (I think a lot of people do).  However, when I read what I write, I don’t like it most of the time or I don’t think it makes sense. I have learned that I will always be my own worst critic and I will never be perfect.  Writing is a process, I am trying to enjoy it as I go along. Some of my stuff will work and some won’t, it is what it is.  I have to say that I am blown away that people are actually reading what I have written.  I have to thank Beth Chapman for editing my posts, I usually post my first draft and she will go in later and clean them up a bit!
  6. What has been your favorite experience so far?  I have had so many great experiences, I can’t lump them together however.  My favorite story so far has been Day 43 “Who replaced Steve Garvey?”.  The most fascinating person I have met has been Day 76 “Mr. Willie”.  The most entertaining experiences have all been at college games with my boys at Colorado Mesa Day 58 “The Pit”, at Southern Miss Day 66 “The Roost” and Clemson Day 72 “The Cheap Seats”.  I have enjoyed speaking to everyone that I have met along the way.  I think in the beginning I was learning and getting comfortable.  I will probably classify the stories when this is over. (check back these may change, I am only a third of the way through)
  7. What kind of car do you drive?  2004 Lexus ES330.  How many miles are on it?  Currently 185,000. How many miles have you put on the car this trip?  17,000 (as of May 9th).
  8. Do you have any kids?  I have one beautiful daughter Sami.  She is finishing up her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She wrote a very touching paper about me and this trip. I shared it before the trip started, click “My Daughters Speech”, for a fantastic write-up.
  9. What do you plan on doing when you get done? I have not given it much thought. Obviously I would love to continue with something in baseball, but will be just fine if that is not in the cards. I truly have no expectations about this trip or how it will affect my life after.
  10. Can I come with you?  I don’t have very much space in my car and besides I don’t think your husband will be to happy about it.
  11. Do you get sick of baseball?  No, I am getting more obsessed with it.  Currently reading: “The Knucklebook” by Dave Clark, “Watching Baseball Smarter” by Zack Hample, “The Physics of Pitching”, and Baseball America’s 2014 Prospect Handbook.  I have been reading some historical stuff also, learning to keep the scorebook properly, and tuning into to the radio broadcasts.
  12. Do you get scared sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots? In the beginning it was a little nerve racking but like anything you get comfortable.  I have met some very interesting people, so I am grateful for those experiences.
  13. Do you get lonely?  Yes, it can get lonely, especially when I am driving late at night and I wish I had someone to talk too!  I do get texts from a fair number of friends and family so that helps.  But during the day I am actually quite busy.
  14. Are you a Buddhist?  No, however I did go to India where I attended a 10 day Introduction to Buddhism retreat.  Even though I like a lot of things about it, I use what I feel benefits me and leave the rest. I believe we can learn great things from all cultures.

A question that has never been asked…

  1. What is your favorite music to listen to on this trip?  70’s music! There are some songs that get to me and I will sing along. Think Tommy Boy when they are singing “Superstar” by the Carpenters, that is totally me when  “Everything I Own” by Bread comes on.  I love the soft pop songs of the 70’s the most, I am no longer ashamed of it!  Oh!! If Gloria Gaynor’s, “I Will Survive” comes on you can bet I am all over it!  (I no longer like Tiffany, Rob Dwyer.)

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!